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Words of Hope about COVID-19 loneliness from someone who knows how difficult isolation is – former solitary confinement inmate Anthony Gay

Posted on: April 20th, 2020 by Romanucci & Blandin

By RB client Anthony Gay who spent 22 years in solitary confinement

In these unprecedented times, many people are struggling with both the loneliness of the stay-at-home order as well as with the fear of an uncertain world and an unknown health threat.  In these challenging days, many wellness experts or other gurus offer their views on how to get through dark times. However, the some truly inspiring perspective comes from someone who has known even greater isolation and fear – during more than twenty years in solitary confinement in prison.

Anthony Gay was released in 2018 after more than two decades in a cell the size of a parking spot with nearly complete absence of human contact and little hope for the future. He has some insights on how to keep your spirits up and look ahead to brighter days. He says, the key to mental wellness when you’re alone and scared is to commit yourself to hope and envision what life can be like when things finally change.

Anthony writes:

“Psychology is the systematic study of behavior and the factors that influence behavior. In order to influence positive behavior, we must influence hope. What is hope? The expectation that something good or great will happen.  

Like Adele setting fire to the rain, hope must set fire to the pain.  

I spent 22 years in solitary confinement. I was abused, tortured, hurt and psychologically beat. The objective was for me to die there. However, I survived. The most compelling reason I survived is because I refused to relinquish hope. 

Without hope, life would be bleak and full of inaction. 

When a basketball team is down 20 points at halftime and comes back to win the game, it’s because of hope, like a great warrior, is on the frontline. Trying to abandon hope and achieve success is like trying to get water without the wet. You can’t have one without the other.

My message to America at this time is never to abandon hope.”

To learn more about Anthony’s advocacy of change for other inmates in solitary confinement, please read the press release about Illinois’ Anthony Gay Solitary Confinement Act:  https://rblaw.net/new-proposal-will-reform-extreme-and-devastating-solitary-confinement-practices-in-illinois-prisons/.  Read the Chicago Tribune coverage of Anthony’s journey: 

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-solitary-confinement-illinois-prison-law-20200310-sjujwdcklrbitotj72ywrxpbfa-story.html

Romanucci & Blandin is proud to represent Anthony in his pursuit of justice and in his advocacy for change across the criminal justice system in the State of Illinois.

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